Retail in RetrospectBroadnax Jewelers
By Sandi Butler Hughes
For our annual 4Memphis Wedding Issue, the Retail in Retrospect feature spotlights Brodnax Jewelers as we celebrate local businesses from another era in Memphis retail history. If
you’ve enjoyed a dinner at Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar, it is in the Brodnax Building and original location for George T. Brodnax, Inc. On the corner of Main Street and Monroe
Avenue, the building was built in 1916 in the heart of downtown retail commerce. George T. Brodnax, Inc. was founded in 1897 and grew into a gold- and silversmith, and diamond merchant
with a world-wide clientele.
At one time, Brodnax sold more Rolex watches than any other retailer in the entire world. In addition to their store-front retail business, Brodnax also had a robust mail-order catalog
business. They were second-only to mail-order pioneer, Sears, Roebuck & Co. They received orders from kings, queens, and monarchs around the globe, and claimed to sell more jewelry
than the Sears catalog, which was quite an accomplishment in 1916!
Through the decades, Brodnax added retail locations in Laurelwood, Southland Mall, Raleigh Springs Mall, Hickory Ridge Mall, and Mall of Memphis. After 80 years downtown, it was announced in February, 1978, the once-flagship location was closing. In 1989, Brodnax Jewelry stores became Bailey Banks & Biddle, a part of Zales Corporation.
Scores of Mid-South brides delighted in an engagement ring from Brodnax. In addition to jewelry, the stores offered beautiful wedding registry gifts of china, silverware, and stemware. A bit of Memphis retail history, where dreams began and heirlooms were purchased, to 2022 where friends gather, and celebrations continue at Main and Monroe.
Retail in Retrospect- Broadnax Jewelers